Goodison Park ace Steven Pienaar is free to talk to other clubs from January.
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Everton’s hopes of keeping Steven Pienaar receded last night after Phil Neville revealed that the club had exhausted every avenue in their efforts to ensure the influential South African stays at Goodison Park.
Pienaar appears increasingly likely to leave the club he has served since 2007 when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Neville is desperate for Pienaar to stay, but the Everton captain believes the club cannot do anything more to persuade him that his future lies with them.
“It would be a massive blow to lose him,” said Neville. “He’s such an influential character. But it happened to Joleon Lescott and we did not want him to move.
“You can say to Steven every minute of the day that we don’t want him to leave. But at the end of the day, it’s his decision. He’s from South Africa, he’s played for Ajax, then Dortmund. Now he’s been to Everton and had the happiest days of his career, I think.
“The club wants him to stay, but there’s not much else we can say. He’s probably weighing up his options now and you just hope for our sake that he signs.” (Independent)
Steven Pienaar is a great player, but he became one at Everton. When he signed for David Moyes’ side in 2007 from Borussia Dortmund, he was valued at just £2m. Although he could well leave on a free at the end of the season, he is undoubtedly a £10m footballer and would be a big loss for the Toffees.
There is not a lot of money around Goodison Park, but one can’t help but speculate that Pienaar’s agent is in his ear suggesting that it would cost the club far less to give him a pay increase than it would to buy a replacement for a player that leaves on a free.
This kind of player power scenario is drawing parallels with the Wayne Rooney situation of last week.
While of course Pienaar has yet to announce his intentions, Rooney only revealed his publicly once Sir Alex Ferguson had held his emotional press conference. Of course, Pienaar does not have quite the same international reputation as Rooney, but if the England and Manchester United player deserved criticism, perhaps so too will Pienaar.
Ian Holloway is probably due another rant, isn’t he?